, glaciers, crystal clear lakes, beautiful alpine meadows, the world's best watches and chocolates, unwavering neutrality, and carefully kept secret bank deposits. It is all Switzerland - the financial center of Europe, a country that has been neutral for more than 200 years, speaks four languages, and is located in the European continent's heart. Do you know where is Zurich? Zurich and Geneva are the two most populous cities in Switzerland and the largest metropolitan areas of the Swiss Confederation. Focusing on these indicators, many believe that one must necessarily be the capital of Switzerland. So which of these cities is the capital of Switzerland? Geneva or Zurich? None of them. Since the state is a confederation, the role of the central city is nominally assigned to Bern. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a concentration of banks, offices, and Swiss and global companies' headquarters. The capital of the German canton is located in a mountain valley near Lake Zurich. Even though the city occupies a vast territory, all the main Switzerland attractions are close to each other, and it will not be difficult to explore them in a couple of days. Enter "what to see in Zurich" in the search bar, and you will know exactly where to go when you arrive in the city.
1. Central Train Station Hauptbahnhof
As the theater begins with a hanger, so Geneva or Zurich, and any other city in the world begins with a train station. Zurich Train Station is one of the largest and one of the busiest and busiest transport hubs in Europe. Every day, about 3,000 trains pass through it, carrying passengers and cargo not only in Switzerland but also abroad. The main entrance to the station building is made in the form of a triumphal arch, above which there is around the clock, which has been showing the most accurate time in the world - Swiss time. The station building is made of sandstone and today has 3 levels. The main hall of the station Hauptbahnhof is quite richly decorated and serves not only for its intended purpose. Lifting your head, you will see a floating female figure. It is a sculpture of a guardian angel by the French-Swiss artist Niki de Saint-Fall. The vaults of the station see not only the ever-hurrying travelers. There are periodic displays of contemporary art, and in December, a real Christmas tree appears in the center of the hall, around which a festive fair is noisy. In front of the station building on the square is a monument to the manufacturer, politician, and founder of the Swiss railway system, Alfred Escher. Best things to do in Zurich:
2. The Bahnhofstrasse Shopping Street
No matter how your sightseeing route is planned, you will first get to Bahnhofstrasse - the main shopping and pedestrian artery of the city, because it starts right from the train station. No car traffic is allowed here. An exception is made only for trams, which occasionally resound with wheels' sound on one of the most desirable streets for shopping. Moving towards the lake, you will see how Zurich can subtly emphasize its status as Switzerland's financial center. Luxury boutique showcases showcase the world's best clothing and footwear, accessories, perfumes, and jewelry: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, and many other brands. The street gets an exceptional charm on the eve of Catholic Christmas. Bahnhofstrasse is not so much to see with your own eyes and capture in a photo. That won't be enough. You have to feel the aroma of the street, consisting of the smell of the best chocolate in the world, flowering lime trees, roasted chestnuts, and a wonderful perfume. Get into the spirit of elegance and luxury, the surrounding architecture, and catch the luxury charm of Bahnhofstrasse.
3. Lake Zurich
The Bahnhofstrasse ends at a square right on the shore of Lake Zurich. The elongated shape, resembling a waning crescent, the lake is located on the territory of three cantons: Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Protected from cold winds by mountain ranges, it has a temperate climate. The purest water, refracting the sun's rays, gives the surface of the lake a bright blue color. On the eastern side, the Lint River flows into the main body of water in Zurich, and from the western part of it flows a river with a different name - Limmat. Here the city was founded. Now it is the territory of the famous old part of Zurich. The Burkliplatz square divides the Lake Zurich embankment into two parts: east and west. The eastern part of the shore is a park where you can swim, sunbathe and play sports in summer. The western part is a walking area with many benches, cafes, and restaurants, where you can relax with a cup of coffee on the outdoor veranda or walk to the small Chinese garden. In the northern part of the lake is the so-called "gold coast," known for low taxes and exorbitantly expensive real estate. Water trips on the most real paddle steamers are very popular with guests and residents of Zurich. On these cruises, you will be amazed by the magnificent views of Lake Zurich's surroundings from the ship. And you will be pleasantly surprised by national cuisine and local wine, which will be served for lunch.
4. Altstadt (Old Town)
You will get to the old part of Zurich – Altstadt if you turn left after leaving the train station. The historical center is located on both the Limmat River banks, which divides it into Large (right-bank) and Small (left-bank) cities. Medieval narrow streets, small squares with fountains, houses with painted walls, many of which date back to the 10th-11th centuries, paved pavements will envelop you with the fabulous flair of the Middle Ages. At present, a new, completely different life is in full swing in the ancient city. Today it is the center of culture and tourism of the financial metropolis, where expensive boutiques, coffee shops, and souvenir shops are located. It is exactly the part of Zurich where you want to walk endlessly. Here are the main historical Switzerland attractions of the city that attract curious travelers: 1. Zurich City Hall (Limmatquai 55, 8001) with the keys to the city gate stored in it, because of the problems with which the city was illuminated in the form of the first street lamp. 2. The Church of St. Peter (Werdstrasse 63, 8004) with a giant clock on the tower, which can be viewed from any part of the city. 3. Fraumunster Cathedral (Munsterhof 2, 8001) is a Protestant church-an example of architectural grace and beauty. 4. Grossmunster Cathedral (Grossmunsterplatz, 8001) is a symbol of Zurich, from the towers where you can enjoy the majestic view of the German canton's capital.
5. Western Zurich (Canton Of Zurich West)
In order to understand and feel modern Switzerland, to know its true essence, it is not enough to see the old fairy-tale town. Switzerland, like many of Switzerland cities, is diverse and unpredictable. So is Zurich. Visit the once-abandoned industrial district in the west of the city, transformed by designers and architects' imagination into a trendy modern quarter. At the end of the 20th century, the industrial area met with the status of a gloomy and abandoned place, but about 10 years ago, everything began to change. Now it is an architectural space full of life and colors, where the pulse of a huge city does not stop for a minute. Old factories abandoned by people and machines have turned into ultra-modern art exhibition halls, dance studios, theaters, stylish restaurants, bars, and cafes. So the stone arches of the old railway overpass were transformed into a gallery filled with modern shops and trendy restaurants. The main landmark of Western Zurich was the Prai Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Switzerland. It stands as a symbol of the rebirth of life against the background of the Hardbrucke automobile bridge.
6. Lindenhof District
Lindenhof or "Linden Yard" is the German name for this cozy place, planted with linden trees since the 15th century. From the observation deck on the Limmat River's left bank, you can enjoy a stunning view of the old town. The landscape of Zurich from the heights of Lindenhof is worth it to climb here! The historical role of the hill, chosen initially as a strategically convenient space for a Roman Fortress, then the site for the construction of the Carolingian palace. Then the land wherein the 18th century the inhabitants of the city took a vow of loyalty to the Swiss constitution is not so obvious in modern Zurich. However, it is still important and valuable. Zurich people and guests of the mountain adore this bright and cozy square on the hill. On sunny, warm days, Lindenhof Park is very crowded. Residents of Zurich gather in the "Linden Courtyard" for a quiet rest and relaxation. Tourists come here to enjoy the panorama of the old town. From the observation deck's elevation, you can see the Grossmunster Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Limmat embankment, and the University. The sights of Lindenhof, along with the viewing terrace, are the fountain erected to commemorate women warriors' courage and the building of the Masonic lodge.
7. Mountain Uetliberg
Unfolding Switzerland map, you can see that Zurich and the adjacent lake are comfortably located between two mountains. The mountain Utliberg in the south-western part of the city is particularly popular with tourists. And this is not at all surprising, because you can get to it quickly and comfortably. And the view from the observation tower is many times more spectacular than what you will see from the Lindenhof observation deck. The train that departs from the central station will take you to the very top of the mountain in just 20-25 minutes. And the ascent from the terminal station to the observation deck will take no more than 10 minutes. Your breath will be knocked out as soon as you climb the tower and look around. And the reason will not be in the rarefied mountain air. The panorama of the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, the tiled roofs of houses, the spires of Catholic churches sticking into the sky, the Lake Zurich shining somewhere far below - everything is so beautiful and unique that it will make you forget about how to breathe for a few minutes. However, you should remember that the top of the mountain, of course, is a very beautiful place, but not the most comfortable for a person, even in the summer. Strong winds are blowing here, so do not forget to bring warm clothes with you, and in winter, be sure to take a hat.
8. Zurich Zoo
Among the many interesting places that Switzerland has to offer, the Zurich City Zoo stands out. Its peculiarity is not only that it is one of the most impressive, artificially created animal habitats. This is not the clear and ordinary zoological garden that we have known about since childhood. It is a full-fledged park, where both animals and people feel very comfortable. The Swiss practice an ethical attitude to animals. Therefore, each zoo's inhabitants has its spacious aviary, the living conditions which are as close to natural as possible. These are entire ecosystems where the animal can move freely. If for some reason, the zoo cannot create the necessary conditions for a normal existence, then the animal or bird is transferred to some other zoo in the world. Visitors to the Zurich Zoo get a unique opportunity to see wild animals' lives in their natural habitat. And there is someone to watch: about 400 species of fauna from all six continents, from domestic animals to predators, live in this sanatorium for our little brothers. To see all the zoo inhabitants, you will need 3-4 hours, and it is better to allocate a whole day in your walking schedule.
9. Zurich Opera House
Switzerland is famous not only for its watches and chocolate but also for its rich cultural heritage. Fans of classical music particularly and lovers of the beautiful in general should visit the Zurich Opera. The theatre building, built-in neoclassicism, is located on the square in front of Lake Zurich. The building's facade is designed in white and grey and decorated with busts of famous poets and composers, among whom you will recognize Goethe, Schiller, Shakespeare, Weber, Wagner, and Mozart. If you manage to see the Zurich Opera House from the outside and get to one of the performances-consider yourself lucky. The theatre's productions are well-deserved recognition among the audience because the opera performances are attended by conductors, musicians, and singers with world-famous names. The interior design of the theatre also deserves attention. Executed in the Rococo style, it impresses with its richness and brilliance. The theatre hall can accommodate 1,200 spectators. 2014 was a landmark year for the Zurich Opera - the theatre won the award in the category "Best Opera Company," indicating the institution's high status.
10. Museums of Zurich
It is impossible to choose the best museum to visit from many similar ones in Zurich. Each of the selected ones will be unique and good in its way. 1. The Museum of Fine Arts (Heimplatz) will introduce you to the carefully preserved masterpieces of Swiss art from the Middle Ages to modern times. The museum halls will also display paintings by famous artists: Edvard Munch, Chagall, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. A unique museum pride is the collection of works by the famous Swiss artist Albert Giacometti. 2. The Swiss National Museum (Museumstrasse 2, 8001) is located in a stunning Renaissance palace. The museum's exposition is dedicated to its past and is replete with historical artifacts. So, in one of the halls, you can get acquainted with the history of weapons in Zurich. 3. The Beyer Watch Museum (Bahnhofstrasse 31, 8001) will tell you about the intricacies of the art of watchmaking and timekeeping. The museum's collection will showcase exquisite pocket watches, sophisticated watch mechanisms, and even navigation devices from the 15th and 18th centuries. 4. World Football Museum (Seestrasse 27, 8002). The museum was opened recently, in 2016. The name itself indicates what the museum exhibition is dedicated to. Football is everywhere here. Documented since 1930 world football championships, artifacts of all FIFA championships, and many football battles videos. 5. The Zoological Museum (Karl-Schmid Strasse 4, 8006) will open the wonderful world of animals for you. The museum's collection consists of exhibits of paleontology and includes stuffed and skeletons of animals and birds that now exist in nature and have long disappeared from the earth's face. 6. The Focus Terra Museum (Sonneggstrasse) explains many natural phenomena from the point of view of science to its visitors in an accessible form and even simulates them. For example, an earthquake. Here you will find out: how minerals are born, why a volcano erupts, why lightning flashes and thunder thunders. This is only a part of the museums you can visit, provided that you ask Google "what to see in Zurich." But for Switzerland visa questions, you can contact pickvisa.com for professional service.